labor unions

Politics & Government
7:26 am
Tue December 11, 2012

Police prepare for large protests today in Lansing

david_shane flickr

Dozens of State Police have gathered in a hallway in the Capitol’s lower level, cordoned off by blue curtains. This is their base of operations in the building this week as hundreds – maybe thousands - of protesters are expected to fill the upper levels.

In one closet, police have stashed helmets and other riot gear.

Capitol Facilities Director Steve Benkovsky hopes the demonstrations will stay peaceful.

"Everybody has a right to come in here and voice their opinion. And we'll deal with it the best we can and let them voice their opinion," said Benkovsky.

State and local police plan to close a number of streets around the state Capitol.

They will also limit the number of people allowed in the building.

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Politics & Government
6:14 pm
Mon December 10, 2012

Capitol set for Tuesday's right-to-work vote

Ifmuth Flickr

At the state Capitol, Democrats are preparing their last-ditch effort to slow or stop legislation that would make Michigan the 24th so-called “right-to-work” state.

Republicans in the state House are expected to send the legislation to Governor Rick Snyder Tuesday.

Thousands of demonstrators are expected to turn out at the Capitol.

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Opinion
3:04 pm
Mon December 10, 2012

Right-to-work in Michigan: Is there a middle ground?

Rick Pluta/MPRN

One thing I know about politically polarizing issues: arguing for middle-of-the-road positions alienates a lot of folks.

But here goes anyway.

I don’t love unions.

And I feel I can say that with some authority, given that as an employee of several media companies, I’ve been a member of three of them.

In every case, I felt unions were so concerned about protecting territory, that they were, at times, anti-progressive, and too often in the business of preserving their power.

I couldn’t touch equipment.

I was prevented from developing technical skills I would have been wise to learn.

Later in my career, when I worked at non-union shops, I was glad that, if I wanted to try something new, I could.

Now, that may seem like a funny way for me to argue that right-to-work laws are a bad idea, but that’s where I’m going with this.

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Education
5:12 pm
Fri December 7, 2012

University of Michigan lecturers rally for equal pay

LEO Demonstration in Ann Arbor
Chris Zollars

The University of Michigan’s got about 15 hundred unhappy lecturers to deal with.

Non-tenured faculty from the University of Michigan's three campuses want a bump in pay, to put them on par with their tenured colleagues.

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Politics & Government
10:12 am
Fri December 7, 2012

Labor leaders tried to head off right-to-work

UAW President Bob King tried to head off right-to-work legislation, but talks broke down.
Lester Graham Michigan Radio

Gov. Rick Snyder's 'not on my agenda' talk seemed to keep right-to-work legislation at bay, continually saying the issue was too divisive.

He had a change of heart yesterday.

Now, Michigan is on the fast-track to becoming the 24th state to adopt a right-to-work law.

Right-to-work laws ban requirements to pay dues or fees to a union as a condition of employment. Without compulsory payments in a closed union shop, unions stand to lose a lot of muscle.

The Detroit Free Press reports that the UAW's Bob King and other labor leaders tried to stop the legislation prior to yesterday's vote:

UAW President Bob King spent a lot of time in Lansing in recent days trying to prevent Gov. Rick Snyder and the Republican leadership from introducing right-to-work legislation but came up short.

“Labor collectively felt like we put some really important proposals on the table about how we could work together … and about how can we de-escalate partisanship,” King told the Free Press today. “We are really disappointed that the governor and the Republican leadership chose the path that they did.”

In a separate piece, the Free Press reports that Snyder said the labor leaders didn't do enough, but he didn't provide specifics.

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Politics & Government
7:50 pm
Thu December 6, 2012

Michigan likely to go "right-to-work;" protestors hit Capitol (PHOTOS, AUDIO, VIDEO)

Michigan Gov. Snyder (center) flanked by supporters of right-to-work legislation in Michigan.
screenshot LiveStream

We're updating this post on the legislature's effort to pass a 'right-to-work' law in Michigan.

A right-to-work law would outlaw requirements that workers pay union dues or fees as a condition of employment. Unions say these laws weaken their ability to bargain collectively with employers. Supporters of the law say it gives workers a choice.

Update 7:50 p.m.

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Breaking
12:16 pm
Thu December 6, 2012

'Right-to-work' legislation to be unveiled in Michigan today

Protesters in the Michigan Capitol last night demonstrating against the push for right-to-work legislation.
Rick Pluta MPRN

Update 12:16 p.m.

During a press conference this morning, Michigan Gov. Snyder dramatically changed course on 'right-to-work' legislation in Michigan.

He has continually said that the legislation was 'not on his agenda' this year because it was too divisive.

But today, he said right-to-work is on his agenda and he will sign a bill if it lands on his desk.

"It is a divisive issue. It's on the table, whether I want it to be there or not," Snyder said during the this morning's press conference.

The 'right-to-work' bills are expected to be introduced in the Legislature today. MIRS reports the bills will cover public sector workers and private sector workers.

Police and fire workers will be excluded.

The bills are expected to move quickly.

They are also expected to have appropriations attached to them, making voter repeal impossible.

10:42 a.m.

The Michigan Information Research Service reports the Michigan House and Senate plan to use 'vehicle bills' to move their 'right-to-work' legislation faster.

Vehicle bills are bills that have already been introduced into a legislative body into which language can be added. It allows legislators to move the legislation through the chambers faster than introducing a new bill.

MIRS reports their sources tell them the 'right-to-work' legislation Republican leaders plan to introduce today will cover both private and public workers.

We'll find out soon enough.

10:12 a.m.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder and Republican leaders in the state Legislature are expected to unveil their plans for so-called 'right-to-work' legislation at an 11 a.m. news conference this morning.

You can watch the 'media roundtable' live at 11:00 a.m. online.

From the Detroit Free Press:

Snyder is to be joined at the news conference, described as a “media roundtable,” by Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville and House Speaker Jase Bolger.

Details were not disclosed, but right-to-work legislation is expected to begin moving in the Legislature today. Rather than introducing a new bill, which under the rules of the Legislature would take longer to pass, lawmakers are expected to introduce a substitute for a House bill that is already in the legislative pipeline.

Right-to-work laws are often called "right-to-work-for less" laws by those who oppose the measures.

The laws ban contracts that compel employees to join a union, or that compel them to pay fees to that union. Without these payments, unions lose their power.

Union supporters say workers not paying into the pool still reap the benefits of collectively bargained contracts, such as better pay, benefits, or working conditions.

Politics & Government
10:57 am
Thu December 6, 2012

LIVE: 'Right-to-work' legislation unveiled

The news conference has ended.

Here's the news conference with Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder and Republican legislative leaders. They're unveiling their plans for 'right-to-work' legislation:

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Economy
4:41 pm
Tue November 13, 2012

Stateside: Labor unions' future reliant on cooperation

Unions such as the UAW are still fulfilling their ultimate purpose
Pobrecito33 Flickr

Labor unions have suffered something of an image crisis over the past decade.

People blame their presence for convoluting many political and economic conversations.

But, according to Harley Shaiken, the unions’ place in society is far from extinct.

Shaiken is a professor of education and geography at University of California, Berkeley.

He addressed the problems currently facing labor unions as well as their past triumphs.

“Overall the public opinion polls are favorable when people are asked if they would join a union,” said Shaiken.

According to Shaiken, the economic gloom of states’ economies cannot entirely be blamed on labor unions.

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Election 2012
10:35 am
Fri November 2, 2012

Commentary: Something in America has changed

The election is now only four days away, and I’ve been thinking about what will happen afterward.

Earlier this week, I received a nasty phone call from a woman named Bonnie.

She believes President Obama is evil, and a traitor.

She thinks the media are covering up the truth behind the killing of the American ambassador to Libya.

She was also upset that we are covering up the “fact,” as she put it, that President Obama’s family were all Communists.

I told her, in not very polite terms, that was idiotic.

She began screaming and I hung up.

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Politics & Government
7:00 am
Thu November 1, 2012

Collective bargaining rights could be enshrined in Michigan's Constitution

Protesters in Wisconsin's State Capitol in March 2011 after the legislature stripped public sector collective bargaining rights. Activists in Michigan are seeking to enshrine their rights in the state Constitution.
Stan Oleson Fotopedia

Voters in Michigan could make some big changes to the Michigan Constitution on November 6th. They’ll decide on five proposed amendments to Michigan’s guiding legal document.

Proposal 2 would enshrine collective bargaining rights in the state Constitution.

Those supporting Proposal 2 say they’re just trying to protect workers’ rights. Labor unions around the Midwest have been feeling squeezed. The legislature in Wisconsin stripped public sector workers of their collective bargaining rights.

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Politics & Government
5:28 pm
Fri October 26, 2012

Stakes are high in Michigan's Proposal 2 campaign

Teachers protest in Lansing.
MEA

Michigan's Proposal 2 ballot campaign is being watched across the country. The proposal seeks to enshrine collective bargaining rights for public and private employees into the Michigan Constitution.

Steven Greenhouse wrote about the implications of Michigan's Proposal 2 in a recent New York Times piece.

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Politics & Government
5:27 pm
Thu October 25, 2012

Stateside: Government and unions learn how to better communicate

Relationships between unions and cities are improving.
UAW

Believe it or not, many of Michigan’s local leaders are satisfied with union negotiations.

According to Tom Ivacko, administrator and program manager of Ford School’s Center for Local, State and Urban Policy, the relationship between jurisdiction and its employees is quite positive.

Ivacko oversees the Michigan Public Policy Survey program. He spoke today with Cyndy about these relationships.

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Offbeat
3:44 pm
Fri October 12, 2012

A Hoffa-themed scam in Roseville, Michigan

ROSEVILLE, Mich. (AP) - Authorities say someone's trying to scam residents of a Detroit suburb into believing that missing Teamsters boss Jimmy Hoffa could be buried on their property.

Roseville police are warning city residents about a letter that purports to be from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. The letter says a recent dig at a Roseville home for Hoffa was a ruse to keep the media away from the real site.

The letter's author implies the true Hoffa dig site is at the recipient's home.

Several residents received a copy of the fake letter as a lure to get them outside while thieves go inside their homes.

Roseville police investigated a claim last month that Hoffa was buried in a backyard, but testing on soil samples showed no traces of human decomposition.

The Two-Way
12:00 pm
Thu September 27, 2012

Search for Jimmy Hoffa leads to driveway near Detroit

Jimmy Hoffa on July 24, 1975. He disappeared six days later.
Tony Spina MCT /Landov

Originally published on Thu September 27, 2012 10:34 am

The 37-year-old search for Teamsters boss Jimmy Hoffa moves to a driveway in Roseville, Mich., on Friday.

"Police will be taking soil core samples," the Detroit Free Press reports, after receiving what they say is a "credible" tip that around the time of Hoffa's 1975 disappearance someone was buried under what's now a driveway in a Roseville residential neighborhood.

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Health
4:40 pm
Fri September 21, 2012

State board may void contract with home health care workers

Patrick Wright of the Mackinac Center says home health care workers are being forced to pay union dues.
Mackinac Center

Michigan could void its contract with thousands of home health care workers if a state board agrees with a legal action filed this week by the Mackinac Center.

The free market think tank is asking the Michigan Employment Relations Commission to rule that home health care workers aren’t public employees, but rather private contractors who can’t unionize.

The workers are organized under the Service Employees International Union.

The Mackinac Center’s Pat Wright says they’re forced to pay dues that should be going to patient care.

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3:16 pm
Mon September 17, 2012

Canadian Auto Workers and Ford close to agreement, others to follow?

Lead in text: 
The Detroit News has an update on the "Big Three" and their negotiations with the Canadian Auto Workers union. The deadline for a deal is midnight tonight.
Toronto - Talks between the Canadian Auto Workers union and Chrysler Group LLC may have turned the corner ahead of today's 11:59 p.m. contract deadline. Discussions with the Auburn Hills automaker - which shot back at Ford Motor Co.
Auto
10:57 am
Mon August 27, 2012

Canadian Auto Workers authorize strike against Ford, Chrysler, GM

User: dmealiffe flickr.com

The Canadian Auto Workers union said today its members have voted to strike against Chrysler, Ford, and GM, if necessary.

The Detroit News reports the CAW is negotiating new contracts with the automakers. Current contracts are set to expire on September 17:

The CAW is expected to meet with the automakers Monday and Tuesday in downtown Toronto.

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Politics & Government
3:53 pm
Tue August 21, 2012

Court of Appeals weighs in on "Protect Our Jobs" ballot question

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

The Michigan Court of Appeals hears arguments tomorrow over whether a ballot initiative to enshrine collective bargaining rights in the state constitution should be on the November ballot.

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Law
4:49 pm
Fri August 17, 2012

Michigan Court of Appeals to hear worker rights proposal

Michigan Hall of Justice where arguments will be heard in the Court of Appeals next week.
User Xnatedawgx Wikimedia Commons

More ballot measure news today as Michigan voters face a November election that will likely include  about a half a dozen ballot measures.

The Michigan Court of Appeals will hear arguments next week from supporters and opponents of a ballot measure that seeks to add collective bargaining rights for workers into the state constitution.

A group called Protect Our Jobs collected nearly 700,000 signatures to get the measure on the ballot. The group Citizens Protecting Michigan's Constitution challenged the petition, saying the ballot proposal was unconstitutionally broad.

In an order released today, the court says oral arguments in the case will be heard Wednesday in Lansing.

An appeal to the court was made after the Board of State Canvassers deadlocked 2-2 this week on the Protect Our Jobs ballot proposal.

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